Dorset OPC

Wynford Eagle

Dorset OPC


St Lawrence Church, Wynford Eagle
Courtesy Kim Parker

Wynford Eagle is a small hamlet lying between two chalk ridges 7.5 miles to the north west of Dorchester and has been known through history as Wenfrot (1086 - Domesday Book), Winfrot Gileberti de Aquila (1204), Wynford Aquile (1275) and Wynfrod Egle (1288). “Wynford” is derived from an old Celtic river name for a tributary to the River Frome meaning “white” or “bright stream” and the manorial addition of “Eagle” is from the medieval family of Gilbert del Egle (latinized form de Aquila) who came from L’Aigle in France. Besides the Celtic origins of its name, barrows and roman remains, including mosaics, attest to human settlement here since very ancient times.

 

Rebuilt in 1630, the Manor House (now Manor Farm) has an impressive west façade topped by a large stone eagle. It was the home of the Puritan Sydenham family in the 16th and 17th centuries, the most famous of whom was Oxford graduate Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), hero of the Civil War and Father of English Medicine, and the most scandalous of whom was William Sydenham, who died in Dorchester Prison in 1709 after masterminding a lottery scam to ease his financial difficulties. The estate was later acquired by the Somersetshire Best family, for whom the baronetcy of Wynford was established in 1829.

The small church of St. Lawrence, formerly a chapelry of the church of Toller Fratrum and later annexed to it as a perpetual curacy, is situated halfway between Wynford House and the Manor House. It was rebuilt in 1840, re-using elements from its 15th century predecessor, which was situated 500 yards to the south. Set in the wall beside the porch is a late Norman tympanum (the stone which filled the head of an arch, in this case a doorway) depicting two confronted wyverns bordered by inscriptions reading, 'Mahald de l'egele' for Matilda Eagle who presumably paid for it, and 'Alvi me feci', for the sculptor, Alvi, who made it.


Wynford Eagle Manor House
Courtesy Kim Parker



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Census 1841 Census [Ann Atkinson]
1851 Census [Ann Atkinson]
1861 Census [Ellis Miles]
1871 Census
[Jacqui Bowen]
1881 Census
[Jacqui Bowen]
1891 Census
[Ann Atkinson]
1901 Census
[Keith Searson]
Parish Registers Baptisms
1847-1854 [PR] [Rachel Kent]
1847-1880 [BT] [Terry Pine]
Marriages
1560-1810 [PR] [Rachel Kent]
1560-1715 [Philimores] [Tony Higgins]
1849 [Terry Pine]
Burials
1847-1880 [PR]
Postal Directories  
Other Records PCC Wills Index [Kim Parker]
Photographs  
Monumental Inscriptions Monumental Inscriptions [Rachel Kent]
Maps The 1891 Ordnance Survey maps of the parish can be seen at the old-maps site, just enter 'Wynford Eagle' under place search.
Records held at the Dorset History Centre
 
Registers
Christenings None. Marriages 1754-1810. Burials None. Banns 1841-1892.

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